Libertarianism, Utilitarianism, Mill, Smith, Rights, Happiness


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The discussions between the proponents of natural rights, utilitarianism, social contract, communism, socialism and democracy are an integral part of the evolution of philosophy, and political, social and economic thinking. It all started with rights and responsibilities being divine, and when there were essentially some classes, bestowed with divinely elite privileges. These were mostly the royals, who had the divine right to rule masses, and priests, who safeguarded, enforced and propagated divine script. These two classes were relatively small in number, so, they needed a bigger elite class, to enforce their laws and rules, mostly know as lords. This triangle is also named as theocracy, bureaucracy and aristocracy.

Together, and with the support of each other, these three classes exercised their divine power and authority. The biggest problem with this system was, although God and His scripture was supposed to be the check and balance in the system, those checks and balances was often found to be seriously insufficient to guarantee the general well-being, personal liberty, satisfaction and happiness. It, frequently, faced serious failures, and unbearable loss of life and property was caused by those failures, in a very common fashion. Those failures kept increasing in size and numbers, as all three ruling classes, specially the priests, got progressively corrupt, due to unchecked, unending and unlimited authority.

Most of the populace had very strong beliefs in religious doctrines, backing up this triple coercion. People started getting fed up, but, the ruling classes did not change their path. Rather, they kept blackmailing the general population on the basis of their religious beliefs. Obeying those three classes was an integral part of their religious duties. As a matter of fact with ever growing discontent, the harshness of brutality was growing, too, with a very rapid pace. Ultimately, this suppression overwhelmed the religious submission of most of the citizens.

The dilemma here was that for the most part, humanity, and specially civilization, did not know any way of living other than the divine right. Question was, where do we go from here? Are there any alternatives? If there are what are those? Giving up on prophets, and the word of God they brought with them, was leaving people, civilizations and nations, astray. A huge gap was created. This gap was filled up by the people now known as secular philosophers. Although many later philosophers denied the existence of God, in the beginning, dominating pretext was, God is fine, religion is okay, but, it should not have anything to do with our daily lives, especially with our politics, with our economics, with our routine social interactions.

So, the idea of separation of church and state was born. This is what filled the gap created by displacement of traditionally ruling and elite classes. Ironically, before this the solutions were very simple. People were told that was the word of God, and there was no choice, except to accept and follow it. Now, the situation, war far more complicated. There was no word of God, hence, no obligation to follow anyone or anything.

What are our alternatives? Which one is the best? How do we know that? If God’s will is not the motive, what else it could be? Where does authority lies now, where it originates, and how does it flow? For the first time in the history of human civilization questions were unlimited. As a matter of fact this was for the first time that people found themselves to be allowed to ask and pursue these questions. The answers, suggested and forwarded, were not limited, either. This gave rise to a totally new social and scholastic group of people, later called as secular philosophers.

Secularism was the new religion, the new dominant thought. Many new alternatives were proposed, and not always in a very tolerant manner. First of all, the status quo did not give up that easy. There were big civil wars and revolutions, costing so many precious lives and causing loss of property business and wealth, as the cost for giving up, for elite, was extremely high. It was like throwing away the wealth, power and influence, accumulated in a very long period of time. After that there were conflicts and wars between alternative secular ideologies and their passionate followers.
My God is better than your God, went away, at least, in political affairs, but, my idea is better than yours, replaced it. Very basic questions like, do we have any natural rights and what are those? If not God’s will, what should be the criteria for legislation, utility, happiness, collective bargain, common good, basic rights, or what? Who should form government, how and why? Where should government have authority, why and how much? What is the future of individual life, liberty, property, happiness, privacy and security? With religious criteria gone, how do we determine foe and friends, now?
In beginning, under the influence of scholars like John Stuart Mill, Europe mostly leaned towards utilitarianism, while, Americans preferred natural rights. The constitution of United States was written on behalf of its citizens. It starts with the phrase, “We the people”. This, without any doubt proves that this country belongs to its people, and it is the people, owners of this country, are delegating some limited powers to its government and legislature. This constitution, also recognizes the fact, although we have Democracy, and hence the rule of majority, in our political system, every human being has certain inalienable rights, which cannot be violated, under any circumstances, by any one or any institution, or a group of people, including government, legislature, majority, law enforcement, courts and military.
The Libertarian principles, enshrined in our constitution, successfully bypass and avoid the inherent conflicts in Utilitarianism. There is absolutely no need to identify, calculate and measure the utility of certain aspects of human life. These are alienable rights, and supersede, everything, anything, everyone and anyone. So, government, president and even legislature cannot take away our right to bear arms, our rights to life, liberty, happiness and property, our right to privacy, and our freedom of speech. Do not get misguided by corrupt politicians, and corporate media, when it comes Assange, Manning and Snowden. They are incredibly brave heroes, exercising their inalienable rights, in a very coercive environment, created and enforced by hugely large government.

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